1219: "Reports"

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Eutychus
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1219: "Reports"

Postby Eutychus » Fri May 31, 2013 6:18 am UTC

Image

http://xckd.com/1219

Alt-text: "If that fails, just multiply every number by a thousand. 'The 2nd St speed limit were set at 2,500 mph, it would likely have prevented 1,000 of the intersection's 3,000 serious accidents last month.'"

As a translator I often feel like translating reports in that sort of vein.

As a Bible scholar I often wonder if that happened with some of the numbers in the Old Testament.
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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri May 31, 2013 6:21 am UTC

I make myself take a sip of lukewarm water every time I catch a typo. It's eerily thrilling.

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby chridd » Fri May 31, 2013 6:32 am UTC

Eutychus wrote:Alt-text: "If that fails, just multiply every number by a thousand. 'The 2nd St speed limit were set at 2,500 mph, it would likely have prevented 1,000 of the intersection's 3,000 serious accidents last month.'"
Original text: "The .002nd St speed limit were set at 2½ mph, it would likely have prevented 1 of the intersection's 3 serious accidents last month."?
I'm not entirely sure, but that doesn't sound quite right to me. Maybe it was multiplied by 100? 25 MPH seems more likely than 2.5.
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keithl
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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby keithl » Fri May 31, 2013 6:33 am UTC

I read technical reports naked.

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby stag019 » Fri May 31, 2013 7:21 am UTC

chridd wrote:
Eutychus wrote:Alt-text: "If that fails, just multiply every number by a thousand. 'The 2nd St speed limit were set at 2,500 mph, it would likely have prevented 1,000 of the intersection's 3,000 serious accidents last month.'"
Original text: "The .002nd St speed limit were set at 2½ mph, it would likely have prevented 1 of the intersection's 3 serious accidents last month."?
I'm not entirely sure, but that doesn't sound quite right to me. Maybe it was multiplied by 100? 25 MPH seems more likely than 2.5.

I love how came here to post this, only to see I was already beaten to it. Bravo.

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby peter_spikings » Fri May 31, 2013 7:52 am UTC

stag019 wrote:I love how came here to post this, only to see I was already beaten to it. Bravo.


Ditto :)

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby Eutychus » Fri May 31, 2013 8:22 am UTC

I see the alt-text has had to be corrected for words, if not (yet) numbers, too.

It originally read

'The 2nd St speed limit were set at 2,500 mph, it would likely have prevented 1,000 of the intersection's 3,000 serious accidents last month.'"


Now it reads

'The 2nd St speed limit should be set at 2,500 mph, which would likely have prevented 1,000 of the intersection's 3,000 serious accidents last month.'"
Be very careful about rectilinear assumptions. Raptors could be hiding there - ucim

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby joeyvalentine » Fri May 31, 2013 9:30 am UTC

I miss the days when xkcd was funny :(

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby MTGradwell » Fri May 31, 2013 9:47 am UTC

Not just the Old Testament. Look what happened in the New Testament to the report of the miraculous feeding of the five. :)

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby Alltat » Fri May 31, 2013 10:02 am UTC

chridd wrote:
Eutychus wrote:Alt-text: "If that fails, just multiply every number by a thousand. 'The 2nd St speed limit were set at 2,500 mph, it would likely have prevented 1,000 of the intersection's 3,000 serious accidents last month.'"
Original text: "The .002nd St speed limit were set at 2½ mph, it would likely have prevented 1 of the intersection's 3 serious accidents last month."?
I'm not entirely sure, but that doesn't sound quite right to me. Maybe it was multiplied by 100? 25 MPH seems more likely than 2.5.

You forgot the time. I assume it should be "...it would likely have prevented 1 of the intersection's 3 serious accidents in the last 43 minutes."

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby Nooska » Fri May 31, 2013 10:52 am UTC

Alltat wrote:
chridd wrote:
Eutychus wrote:Alt-text: "If that fails, just multiply every number by a thousand. 'The 2nd St speed limit were set at 2,500 mph, it would likely have prevented 1,000 of the intersection's 3,000 serious accidents last month.'"
Original text: "The .002nd St speed limit were set at 2½ mph, it would likely have prevented 1 of the intersection's 3 serious accidents last month."?
I'm not entirely sure, but that doesn't sound quite right to me. Maybe it was multiplied by 100? 25 MPH seems more likely than 2.5.

You forgot the time. I assume it should be "...it would likely have prevented 1 of the intersection's 3 serious accidents in the last 43 minutes."

Well, no.
Month is not a number, and arguably "2nd street" isn't either, though the 2 in 2nd definately is.

The 2500 mph however is clearly a typo needing an extra 0.

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby Eutychus » Fri May 31, 2013 11:02 am UTC

MTGradwell wrote:Not just the Old Testament. Look what happened in the New Testament to the report of the miraculous feeding of the five. :)


You mean with 0.005 loaves and 0.002 fish? Hallelujah :D
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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby Klear » Fri May 31, 2013 11:27 am UTC

Alltat wrote:
chridd wrote:
Eutychus wrote:Alt-text: "If that fails, just multiply every number by a thousand. 'The 2nd St speed limit were set at 2,500 mph, it would likely have prevented 1,000 of the intersection's 3,000 serious accidents last month.'"
Original text: "The .002nd St speed limit were set at 2½ mph, it would likely have prevented 1 of the intersection's 3 serious accidents last month."?
I'm not entirely sure, but that doesn't sound quite right to me. Maybe it was multiplied by 100? 25 MPH seems more likely than 2.5.

You forgot the time. I assume it should be "...it would likely have prevented 1 of the intersection's 3 serious accidents in the last 43 minutes."


Month is not a number.

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drachefly
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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby drachefly » Fri May 31, 2013 11:36 am UTC

It is a quantity. You can rescale it if it ends up funnier. In this case, though, it just maintains the meaning of the scaled-up version, so I'm not sure that helps.

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri May 31, 2013 11:50 am UTC

keithl wrote:I read technical reports naked.


I laminate them first.

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby Araoth » Fri May 31, 2013 1:13 pm UTC

chridd wrote:
Eutychus wrote:Alt-text: "If that fails, just multiply every number by a thousand. 'The 2nd St speed limit were set at 2,500 mph, it would likely have prevented 1,000 of the intersection's 3,000 serious accidents last month.'"
Original text: "The .002nd St speed limit were set at 2½ mph, it would likely have prevented 1 of the intersection's 3 serious accidents last month."?
I'm not entirely sure, but that doesn't sound quite right to me. Maybe it was multiplied by 100? 25 MPH seems more likely than 2.5.


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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby Draco18s » Fri May 31, 2013 1:22 pm UTC

Eutychus wrote:
MTGradwell wrote:Not just the Old Testament. Look what happened in the New Testament to the report of the miraculous feeding of the five. :)

You mean with 0.005 loaves and 0.002 fish? Hallelujah :D


Having recently taken a tour of the holy land, it was pointed out to me that the miracle was not feeding 5000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish.

It was getting 5000 people to break bread at all. In those days people only ate with family and in a private setting.

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby cellocgw » Fri May 31, 2013 1:24 pm UTC

It would be more useful, tho' maybe less funny, to list suggestions for how to write the report to make reading it more interesting.
There's the time-(dis)honored method of anthropomorphizing all the lab equipment, or adding comments about the co-authors' lack of haberdashery style; one of my favorites is to stick some easter-eggs into the abbreviation/acronym list that's required at the end of gov't technical reports. I always wonder if anyone even notices when I stick in TINSSTAAFL or ROTFL in there. :D
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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby gladiolas » Fri May 31, 2013 1:42 pm UTC

Trry writing them in the style of Asimov, Burroughs, Camus, Dick, Eddison, Faulkner, Gibson, Hemingway...Shakespeare, Twain...etc.

Speaking of anthropomorphizing the lab equipment...I wonder how many like to play chess and hold imaginary conversations among the pieces?

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby Someguy945 » Fri May 31, 2013 2:04 pm UTC

Treating the 2 in "2nd Street" like a number makes me imagine a database that stores phone numbers as "int" instead of "varchar".

Some numbers are really just text.

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby Lopsidation » Fri May 31, 2013 2:16 pm UTC

Re the alt text, I laugh at posters which try to abuse the bigger-numbers-are-more-exciting gimmick.

"Rising gas prices rob us of more than ten milllion dollars every day!"

(Well, considering there are more than 300 million people just in the US, that's about 4 cents each.)

"If everyone uses these handy eco-friendly tips, we'll prevent 10 million pounds of carbon dioxide pollution every year!"

(Not that I don't agree with the sentiment, but I can't help but read this as "we'll prevent 10 BILLION BILLION BILLION pounds of carbon dioxide pollution every septillion years!" It'd be nice to get a sense of scale for this kind of message.)

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby mathmannix » Fri May 31, 2013 2:21 pm UTC

Someguy945 wrote:Treating the 2 in "2nd Street" like a number makes me imagine a database that stores phone numbers as "int" instead of "varchar".

Some numbers are really just text.


But that deprives us of knowing the correct value of the phone number... (800)588-2300 = 468100, for example.
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Adam H
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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby Adam H » Fri May 31, 2013 3:20 pm UTC

joeyvalentine wrote:I miss the days when xkcd was funny :(

This comic is hilarious, heathen!
-Adam

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Klear
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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby Klear » Fri May 31, 2013 4:20 pm UTC

drachefly wrote:It is a quantity. You can rescale it if it ends up funnier. In this case, though, it just maintains the meaning of the scaled-up version, so I'm not sure that helps.


Month isn't a quantity either...

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby Selcouth » Fri May 31, 2013 7:50 pm UTC

joeyvalentine wrote:I miss the days when xkcd was funny :(


Yeah, seems like Randall's been stressed for the past few weeks.... the comics aren't quite the same. Of course, maybe he's just spending some of his humor on Time?
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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby Sandman81 » Fri May 31, 2013 8:18 pm UTC

Eutychus wrote:As a Bible scholar I often wonder if that happened with some of the numbers in the Old Testament.



If you apply it the other way to Genesis, the creation story becomes slightly more accurate.

On the other hand, it would mean that Noah lived to be 950,000 years old; the disciples had to wait 3,000 days for Jesus to rise from the dead; and that, rather than being one God to worship, there are one thousand Gods, all of them equally jealous. And one thousand sons and holy ghosts too.

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby WriteBrainedJR » Fri May 31, 2013 9:26 pm UTC

Sandman81 wrote:
Eutychus wrote:As a Bible scholar I often wonder if that happened with some of the numbers in the Old Testament.



If you apply it the other way to Genesis, the creation story becomes slightly more accurate.

On the other hand, it would mean that Noah lived to be 950,000 years old; the disciples had to wait 3,000 days for Jesus to rise from the dead; and that, rather than being one God to worship, there are one thousand Gods, all of them equally jealous. And one thousand sons and holy ghosts too.

1000 of them and none are philanderers? Apparently the Greeks were even wronger than the Christians.

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby addams » Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:34 am UTC

keithl wrote:I read technical reports naked.

Jabba the Hut did that, too.
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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby Jackpot777 » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:56 am UTC

Nooska wrote:
Alltat wrote:
chridd wrote:
Eutychus wrote:Alt-text: "If that fails, just multiply every number by a thousand. 'The 2nd St speed limit were set at 2,500 mph, it would likely have prevented 1,000 of the intersection's 3,000 serious accidents last month.'"
Original text: "The .002nd St speed limit were set at 2½ mph, it would likely have prevented 1 of the intersection's 3 serious accidents last month."?
I'm not entirely sure, but that doesn't sound quite right to me. Maybe it was multiplied by 100? 25 MPH seems more likely than 2.5.

You forgot the time. I assume it should be "...it would likely have prevented 1 of the intersection's 3 serious accidents in the last 43 minutes."

Well, no.
Month is not a number, and arguably "2nd street" isn't either, though the 2 in 2nd definately is.

The 2500 mph however is clearly a typo needing an extra 0.


Definately isn't a word, but definitely definitely is.

(Of the finite. De finite. That's how I remember it.)

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby da Doctah » Sat Jun 01, 2013 4:56 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:It would be more useful, tho' maybe less funny, to list suggestions for how to write the report to make reading it more interesting.
There's the time-(dis)honored method of anthropomorphizing all the lab equipment, or adding comments about the co-authors' lack of haberdashery style; one of my favorites is to stick some easter-eggs into the abbreviation/acronym list that's required at the end of gov't technical reports. I always wonder if anyone even notices when I stick in TINSSTAAFL or ROTFL in there. :D

I once toyed with an idea that I never go around to following through on, that of writing an incident memo that looks like straightforward prose, but if you read it aloud it turns out to be a sonnet. The meter is easy (in fact, after a marathon reading of The Faerie Queene I found it difficult not to formulate all my thoughts in iambic pentameter) but I could never quite manage the rhyme scheme.

Got as far once as "Last Thursday, as I'm sure you're all aware, an outage caused the backup site to crash...."

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Re: 1219: "Reports"

Postby Tova » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:20 am UTC

cellocgw wrote:It would be more useful, tho' maybe less funny, to list suggestions for how to write the report to make reading it more interesting.


That is how I originally interpreted the comic.

Pretty much guaranteed that the joke would fall flat, even after I figured out what it meant.


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